The NWO Spinoza Awards
The NWO Spinoza programme was launched by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research as a complement to promoting science in research schools. The programme is the most prestigious one in Dutch science. Its aim is the promotion of excellent research by identifying and awarding a very limited number of scientists (circa 3 per year) with a large grant.
The SPINOZA laureates have made important scientific discoveries. Their contributions have been of paramount importance to their scientific field of research. They have an impressing list of high-quality publications, an excellent citation-index and have shown to be excellent leading figures with a stimulating attitude towards their (numerous) PhD-students. Their outstanding abilities have been recognised both nationally and internationally by means of honouring awards, prizes, invitations etc.
The candidates are selected by a central committee, on the recommendation of invited leading figures from the Dutch research community. The NWO/SPINOZA programme corresponds to NWO's philosophy that the determining factor for 'top research' (which usually will have its basis in a research school) is determined in first instance by the person himself and not by the institution.
The awards are a mark of honour for already performed top research on the one hand, and are meant as a stimulation for future research on the other. It is expected that the laureates will perform research on top-level for some considerable time and that they will move the research in their area an important step forward. SPINOZA scientists are entirely free in spending their award to the research of their choice. The volume of the grant is, among others, determined by the equipment-intensive character of the research in question.